With the movie “Maleficent” due to be released May 30th, I got into a discussion about the different ways the “wicked” fairy has been portrayed in the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty and it reminded me of this book floating around on my book shelf, “Behind the Scenes at the Ballet: Rehearsing and Performing The Sleeping Beauty.”. It combines two of my favorite things, fairy tales and ballet. The ballet, with a score by Tchaikovsky, was based on Perrault’s version of the story, “La Belle au Boise Dormant.” But, instead of being completely faithful, it takes off in a rather brilliant direction and embraces its fairy tale-ness with an almost meta quality.
The wicked fairy, Carabosse
The benevolent and powerful Lilac fairy
On the Princess Aurora’s 16th birthday there is a grand party.
She receives gifts from many people, including (while her parents are distracted) a bouquet of flowers. The old woman is the fairy Carabosse in disguise. Hidden in the bouquet is a spindle, which Princess Aurora pricks her finger on, fulfilling the curse. This is also one of the best explanations for how Aurora manages to prick her finger. The versons where her parents are away on a trip didn’t make sense to me even as a child. Come on! They knew the curse was supposed to happen on her 16th birthday and they’re not watching her like a hawk?
100 years later Prince Florimund is dancing with his fiance, the Countess at a hunting party. He does not love her and finds her cold. He wanders off into the forest.
The Lilac fairy appears and shows him a vision of the Princess Aurora.
The Prince and Princess dance and the Lilac fairy explains the curse.
Prince Florimund is guided to the castle by the Lilac fairy, finds Aurora, and kisses her, breaking the enchantment.
The wedding guests include many fairy tale charcaters
The White Cat dances with Puss in Boots
Princess Florine and the Bluebird
Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
And finally Aurora and Florimund dance their pas de deaux.
The book also has behind the scenes photos. There are people sewing the ballet costumes. Dancers practicing. Ballet stage makeup being applied. And at the end a couple of photos of famous dancers such as Robert Helpmann as Carabosse (who can be played by either a man or a woman)-
and Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nurevev
I love the costuming of the Birmingham Royal Ballet production of Sleeping Beauty. The costumes are incredibly detailed and baroque.
After a year of futzing around, I finally got my doll pattern exactly the way I want it.
Pascale, Rose, Silvia, and Martine will be fitting together soon. My other dolls need some 60s dollybird company.
And WOW! Instagram just really does NOT want to show up. What’s with that?
I finished “Brooksie.” She’s gouache on 10″ x 10″ canvas. Unfortunately, this painting took me forever to complete despite its small size. I spent all of March with hives because I suddenly developed an allergy to rye bread. So, so weird. I’m not allergic to anything- or at least, I used to not be.
Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the progress from “Zelda.” This is much closer to what I had in my head. Now I wish I’d been bolder and more committed to outlines with “Zelda” but I’m not going back to rework it. I already have the next canvas for a new painting prepped.
As a teen, I discovered Louise Brooks in a book about silent stars and fell in love. She was so mischievous, passionate, and intelligent. I hunted for any of her films in the local video shops, but there weren’t any. I wouldn’t see her most famous movie, “Pandora’s Box” until decades later. If you’d like to know more about Louise, I suggest you read her memoir, “Lulu in Hollywood.” Peter Cowie put together an impressive and beautiful photo book about her, “Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever,” that is incredible. It’s expensive, so it may be a good idea to check the nearest library.
This is the photo by Eugene Robert Richee that inspired my painting.
Work in progress pictures:
I received the Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz for my birthday.
The book is beautiful. However I found the interior art serviceable, it didn’t knock my socks off.
But the book design more than makes up for it.
Each movie chapter consists of an essay by the author and an interview with Wes Anderson. The essays are brief and spot on, but the real treasure is the interview. Matt Zoller Seitz asks thoughtful questions and manages to get Anderson to open up about his work.
The interview is profusely illustrated with behind the scenes photos and inspiration.
Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Satyajit Ray’s The Lonely Housewife influenced Moonrise Kindgom
Sissy Spacek’s eye makeup from Badlands, contrasted with Kara Hayward’s makeup in Moonrise Kingdom.
When I first saw the movie, I fell in love with Frances McDormand’s 60s shift dresses.
I love how the aqua of the wall mural ties in with the aqua of her dress. I also just really love her legs.
Fake books created for the movie. Susie likes to read “stories with magic powers in them. Either kingdoms on earth or on foreign planets. Usually I prefer a girl hero, but not always.” I love the Isaac Asimov/Arthur C. Clarke mash up.
The needlepoint of the church inspired needlepoints of the rest of the main sets.
One of the things they get into that I love is Anderson’s use of miniatures, rather than using all CGI. It’s not that he thinks miniatures look less fake than computer graphics, but that he prefers the fakeness of miniatures.
The book is wonderful and I can’t recommend it enough!